Danish local elections: Covid-19 safety measures to be used on polling day

Authorities in Denmark on Monday confirmed a number of safety measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic will be in place when the country goes to the polls in local elections on Tuesday.

Hand sanitizer, social distancing and outside polling booths will all be features of tomorrow’s municipal and regional elections in Denmark.
Hand sanitizer, social distancing and outside polling booths will all be features of tomorrow’s municipal and regional elections in Denmark. File photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark is currently in the midst of a steep wave of new cases of Covid-19, with over 2,000 new cases registered during the last 11 consecutive says and close to 350 people currently admitted to hospital with the virus.

Hand sanitizer, social distancing and outside polling booths will all be features of tomorrow’s municipal and regional elections in an effort to keep turnout high despite the concerning Covid-19 curve, authorities said at a briefing on Monday.

“Municipalities are extremely well prepared and almost all voters are vaccinated. It’s therefore safe and secure to vote tomorrow,” interior minister Kaare Dybvad said at Monday’s briefing, as reported by broadcaster DR.

“In Norway they had a (general) election earlier this year with significantly more restrictions and you could see a small drop in turnout,” the minister noted.

“There’s no reason to be worried about going out and voting but there may be a small drop. We have no estimate of what to expect,” he added.

Over 400,000 foreign residents in Denmark are eligible to vote in the elections.


The exact provisions in place at individual polling stations are determined by the local municipalities.

In general, local authorities are advised to ensure good distancing between voters, liberal use of hand sanitizer and use of outdoors space.

Voters will be allowed to bring their own pens to fill out ballot papers, in a first for Danish elections.

People who are infected with coronavirus are allowed to vote and are not required to present a valid coronapas, in line with the Danish constitution which ensures everyone who is eligible be allowed to vote.

Those currently infected with Covid-19 are instructed not to enter polling stations but to call a telephone number which will be provided outside of the voting location, broadcaster TV2 reports. Staff wearing PPE will then assist, allowing votes to be cast. This can be done from inside of a car or at an outside voting box.

“I cannot stand here and guarantee that infections won’t occur in connection with the elections. That’s also the case for many other societal activities. But (the elections) can be undertaken safely and properly in relation to the epidemic,” Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said.

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Could next party in Danish parliament be led by AI?

A new political party in Denmark whose policies are derived entirely from artificial intelligence (AI) hopes to stand in the country's next general election in June 2023.

Could next party in Danish parliament be led by AI?

Launched in late May by the artists’ collective Computer Lars, the Synthetic Party wants to reach out to the around 15 percent of Danes who did not exercise their right to vote in the previous election in 2019.

The party believes they did not vote because none of the traditional parties appealed to them. 

By analysing all of Denmark’s fringe parties’ written publications since 1970, the Synthetic Party’s AI has devised a programme that it believes represents “the political visions of the everyday person”, one of the members of the collective, Asker Bryld Staunaes, told AFP.

The party “takes its departure in an analysis of optimising the voting system in Denmark”, he said.

It is also a tongue-in-cheek response to the hundreds of small parties created over the years, some based more on mocking or criticising society than actual political policy.

Denmark currently has 230 such micro-parties, including the Synthetic Party.

“It’s a way to mimic and simulate the political process throughout but in a direct confrontation of the apparatus of lawmaking and political enforcement and organisation rights”, Bryld Staunaes said.

Among the party’s proposals is the introduction of a universal basic income of 100,000 kroner a month — more than double the average Danish salary.

The party also backs the addition of an 18th UN sustainable development goal that would allow “humans and algorithms to coexist more directly than now”, Bryld Staunaes said.

It remains to be seen if the party has enough support to stand in the 2023 vote — it needs 20,182 signatures to do so and currently has just four, according to official election data.

But if it does manage to win a seat in parliament, it plans to use its mandate to link AI to the work being done by members of the assembly.

“The idea… is to take this huge political and economic force (algorithms)… to try to inscribe it into the traditional political system,” Bryld Staunaes said.

Currently, “we have no way of actually addressing humans and AI within a democratic setting”, he added.

People can interact directly with the party’s AI on messaging platform Discord via chatbots.

The party plans to hold its first election rally “for a human audience” in September.